One in six jobs will go at BBC as corporation plans to cut 450 staff from regional programmes in bid to save £25million
- Broadcaster says BBC England must save £25 million by the end of March 2022
- Last month 150 roles in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland were to be axed
- BBC already had £800m savings target before the coronavirus pandemic
The BBC has announced plans to cut around 450 jobs across England which could see a number of familiar faces in local journalism disappear from screens.
The broadcaster has said that BBC England must save £25 million by the end of March 2022.
BBC England is the home of the corporation’s local radio stations and regional TV news, and according to the BBC will ‘undergo a significant reinvention’.
It comes after the BBC last month said it was axing more than 150 roles in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Last month outgoing director-general Lord Tony Hall launched a programme of voluntary redundancy across the BBC.
Around 450 jobs will be lost after the broadcaster said that BBC England must save £25 million by the end of March 2022
The BBC already had an £800 million savings target before the coronavirus pandemic led to an additional £125 million deficit.
Helen Thomas, the director of BBC England, said: ‘I’m proud people have turned to us for trusted news and information in huge numbers during Covid-19, proving the importance of our local and regional services. But those services were created more than 50 years ago, have changed very little and need significant reinvention. That has meant taking some difficult decisions.
‘We are in the age of the Facebook community group and the WhatsApp neighbourhood chat. We must adapt to better reflect how people live their lives, how they get their news and what content they want.
‘We’re going to modernise our offer to audiences in England by making digital a central part of everything we do. We’ll take forward lessons from Covid-19 that will make us more agile and more in touch with communities while also ensuring we’re as efficient as we can be.
‘I’m confident we can evolve our local and regional services while improving our impact and better serving our audiences.’
Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, said: ‘These are huge cuts which will inevitably have an impact on the BBC’s ability to sustain the breadth and depth of news coverage throughout England which truly reflects the diversity of the nation.
Last month outgoing director-general Lord Tony Hall (pictured) launched a programme of voluntary redundancy across the BBC
‘We are consulting our members on how these plans will impact on the BBC’s output and the extent to which it will increase workloads on already-stretched newsrooms.
‘The NUJ welcomes the BBC’s commitment to swiftly share vital data on equality impact and stress risk assessments. But we will be seeking greater clarity on how the additional 125 voluntary redundancies will be assessed, and looking for guarantees that a joined-up and robust redeployment process will be carried out. Any attempts to instigate compulsory redundancies will be robustly resisted by the NUJ.
‘The financial challenges are clear – the solution requires public engagement and financial intervention from the Government to ensure the BBC’s survival as an institution prized and valued all over the world.
‘The Covid-19 crisis has shown more than ever the need for an effective public service broadcaster and for trusted, quality journalism in an era of disinformation and fake news. We cannot allow the BBC to sleepwalk into a death by a thousand cuts, which will inevitably see people switch off because they aren’t getting the service they want.’
Labour’s shadow minister for media, Chris Matheson, responded to the news of regional cuts at the BBC, saying: ‘While not unexpected, these cuts are still very damaging and unwelcome. Regional news is among the most trusted with some of the highest viewing and listening figures.
‘Regional investigative journalism, such as Inside Out, have been ground breaking over the last two decades and served a need that cannot be met nationally.
‘Although some of these cuts are caused by the Covid-19 pandemic affecting production, the root cause remains the Government’s decision to slash BBC funding.
‘We’ve seen £800 million lost so far in this charter period, not to mention the Tories’ broken promise on the over-75s’ free TV licence, where the cost of £250 million was passed to the BBC.
‘Ministers need to take responsibility and stop hiding behind the BBC management – the Government caused these cuts, they should stand up and be counted.’
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